Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Planking my way to better running

On a whim about a year ago I started planking. It looked so easy I though...I barely lasted 20 seconds on my first try. It looked so easy.  Using my abs for the very first time to stay still and flat...that was an eye opener.  But I stuck with it and a year later I maintain a 4-time-a-week plank workout. 

The biggest benefit has been an improvement in my breathing:  I take in deeper breaths.  And my running posture has improved...much less slouching.  Larry:  I've got 6 pack abs after all...they're just hiding under an inch or so of 'insulation'!  Hey it's Canada...we have to stay warm in the winter!

After stumbling around with a few planinkg variations, I came across the above video.  It's Olympian Carrie Tollefson's planking routine.  She's a world class runner so ... what's good for Carrie works for me.  It's 5 minutes of torture but does it ever feel good after.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racing for Kids Mental Health

I'm running for mental health on September 17 this year and it's not for me.  I'm running to raise money to help families and kids with mental health issues find the right mental health support they need when they need it most.  You can donate here at my personal page: ThatRunninGuy racing for Kids Mental Health.

Mental health in young people affects us all.  We may not talk about it our families because we're ashamed.  We may not know what to do or where to turn so we try to deal with it ourselves. We may ignore it and hope they grow out of it. Non of these is effective:
As many as two million young people in Canada are struggling with mental health issues such as an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression or addiction. Only one in five will get specialized treatment.  There are plenty of mental health services available for young people, but the system is confusing. It can be extremely difficult for families to find their way to the right program, especially during a crisis. Sunnybrook's Family Navigation Project partners families with professional navigators. These navigators are knowledgeable about what services exist, and become allies in guiding families toward the right care at the right time.
I've had mental issues as an adult and I've been fortunate to have had professional services easily available.  I can't imagine what it would have been like as a teenager scared to death to talk to family or friends and with nowhere to turn. I can't imaine it! I'm running to help change that and I'm hoping you will help me with your donation.

On Saturday, September 17 I'm running in the 15K RBC Race for the Kids event.  It's the longest of the three race events but you knew I'd do that.  I haven't raced a 15K event since the Bread and Honey 15K in Mississauga well over 25 years ago.  I'm looking forward to it and of course have some time goals...I'll share those closer to race day.  In the meantime, I'm hoping you'll donate on my personal page:  ThatRunninGuy racing for Kids Mental Health.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Running

Summer running!  It's what I live for!  The hotter the better.  Coming back completely drenched after a run is the best feeling in the world.  I walk up the stairs to our apartment sparing any elevator riders from my healthy post-run 'scent'. 

Now I must confess that I run very early in the morning...I'm usually out by 6 am when the sun is still low on the horizon and the temperature is moderate.  We experience high levels of humidity in Toronto in the summer so even temperatures in the high teens (Celsius) can feel 10 degrees warmer. Add in the big city air quality and some mornings it feels as is I'm eating the air. 

The absolute hottest temperature I've ever run in was in Las Vegas.  On a business trip in August, the daytime highs were in the mid-40's.  They dropped overnight but only to the mid-30's.  It was a surreal experience stepping out of the frigid hotel lobby into the hot morning air...an immediate 15 degree temperature swing!

Since I'm out early, sunstroke isn't an issue.  Heatstroke is and I take great care to hydrate before, during and after my summer runs.  Plain tap water does the trick...some mornings I can't get enough. And while we're talking about hydration, I've started drinking a lot of water every day.  I start as soon as I get up with a tall glass and follow up throughout the day.  I still crave my diet colas but I'm drinking less...and that's a good thing.  Now if only I could do the same with my salty snacks.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Running in molasses

Back in grade school I got tagged with the nickname, 'Molasses'.  And that's what it feels like I've been running in the past couple of weeks:  Running in molasses!  Despite all the hill repeats, track workouts and the Workout from Hell I'm running more slowly?

It started with my results from the Toronto Waterfront 10K.  I blew my target time and barely squeeked in under 1 hour.  Yes I made a couple of rookie mistakes...going out too fast, not wearing a hat and not hydrating properly for the hotter-than-expected day...but still!  Since then my early morning runs have felt slow.

I can hear it already, "You've gotten older...you can't run at the same pace you did 20 years ago". That's true but I'm running slower since this April!

Could be the warmer temperatures the past couple of weeks.  We get high humidity in Toronto and with the 'urban air' that certainly plays a role.  

Oh, wait a minute...could it be the extra weight I packed on since April?  I've been eating well but it's the extra snacking that's sneaked up on me that's done the damage.  And I know how to fix that:  Run harder!

Until next time...